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Phoenix brewery envelope yields $224.50

Another installment in an ongoing series about local artifacts on eBay.

An envelope from the Phoenix Brewing Co., postmarked 1908, sold last week for $224.50 US. It nabbed six bids, all $75 or more.

The colourful cover depicts the Boundary community’s namesake bird in purple and has “Biner/Phoenix” with a red circle around it.

According to Bill Wilson’s recent Beer Barons of BC, the Phoenix brewery was founded in 1899 by brothers Julius and Andrew Mueller. Julius became sole proprietor around 1900 and in October 1905 sold to Theo Biner and his sons Albert, Dan, and W.H.

“The Biner family left Phoenix about two years ago and moved to Olympia, but the attractions of the Boundary were too much for them, although they were all doing well on Puget Sound,” the Phoenix Pioneer reported at the time.

The brewery was at the corner of Standard Avenue and Banner Street, and was in business until 1920, when the post-war crash in copper prices left Phoenix a ghost town.

The envelope was addressed to the R.D. Swisher Manufacturing Co. of Chicago.

The seller was in Dayton, Ohio.

• A prospectus from the Viking Gold Mining Co. of Slocan City sold last week for $68 US.

The four-page report dates from 1897. Robert G. Henderson of Slocan was company president, T. Reynell Lane of Vancouver vice-president, George Aylard of New Denver secretary-treasurer, George Suckling of Silverton and Cornelius (Neil) Gething of Slocan directors, and F.S. Andrews of Slocan solicitor.

Henderson and Gething were also co-proprietors of Slocan’s Arlington Hotel.

The company, capitalized at $100,000, had two claims on Springer Creek: the Viking No. 2 and Phoenix Fraction, which reportedly assayed at $412 per ton in gold and silver.

The prospectus includes a report from mining engineer George Dallas B. Turner of Silverton, proclaiming: “I have no hesitation in saying that I believe the Viking group of mineral claims to be a first-class proposition and can highly recommend it.”

Despite some development work, not much more was heard from this company, although between 1932 and 1936, the property shipped 15 tonnes, yielding silver, gold, and lead. It has since been poked at periodically. Rainbow Resources of Toronto acquired it last fall.

• Last week’s item about a censored letter mailed from Slocan to the Dad’s Cookie Co. in Vancouver in 1942 brought back memories for Salmo’s Jean Stahl.

She recalls visiting the factory at 12th and Kingsway, close to where her grandfather lived, and collecting cookie crumbs cheap.

“You could get a bag of cookies for two bits. They always twisted it so there were ears on the bag,” she says. “If we were driving home, we’d go down and get a box of broken cookies a foot square for a dollar. It was always a thrill to get these broken cookies.”

At the time, she was 11 or 12 and World War II was just starting. Her family then lived in Silverton, but they moved to Salmo in the 1940s and had the Shell station for 15 years.

This story will appear in the March 8 edition of the West Kootenay Advertiser.

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